AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin, 2018-09

February 23, 2018 - Bow, NH

This week was a relatively slow week in Concord, and neither the Senate nor the House will convene again until March 6, 2018 (everyone is off for Winter vacation week).  What this means, however, especially for the House, is that there is an oncoming avalanche of legislation heading to the floor.  Between March 6 and March 22, hundreds of pieces of legislation will need to be considered and dispensed with by the House, so there are some long session days impending. 

School Nurse Certification  Yesterday, the House passed HB 1217, which reduces the certification requirements for school nurses.  Proponents of the bill emphasized cost savings to school districts of fewer certification standards to be met by school nurses, while opponents of the bill pointed to the complexities facing school nurses.  Dealing with injuries, chronic illnesses, serving as a resource for psychological issues, all these involve school nurses.  But in NH, we reduce standards to prior levels, rather than render pay more commensurate with more rigorous standards.  And all of our school employees know we do not employ enough school nurses in our schools. The bill now moves to the Senate, which is likely to pass the bill and send it to the governor.

Timberlane Teachers' Association and Timberlane Support Staff Union Release First Annual Voter's Guides

The Timberlane Teachers' Association and the Timberlane Support Staff Union are pleased to release its First Annual Voter's Guides for Timberlane Voters. These voter's guides cover the election for the Timberlane Regional School Board and Budget Committee positions. 

The Timberlane Teachers’ Association and Timberlane Support Staff Union submitted pertinent questions to all registered candidates for the Timberlane Regional School Board and Budget Committee for our first annual public voter’s guides.  These guides are not an endorsement or recommendation of any one candidate, but an effort to assist residents in making an informed decision at the polls on Tuesday, March 13, 2018.

You can download the voter's guides here:

TRSD School Board Voter's Guide

TRSD Budget Committee Voter's Guide

AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin, 2018-08

February 20, 2018 - Bow, NH

A busy week in the State House, though a relatively quiet one when it comes to legislation of direct concern to AFT-NH.  In terms of actual legislation, the Senate passed SB 441, which requires school districts to create policies upholding the finality of grades assigned by teachers.  Except in limited cases (technical or clerical error), this would make teacher-assigned grades the final word, preventing administrators from altering grades of athletes or certain vociferous parents.  Consider it a rare recognition of the professionalism of our public school teachers! 

AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin, 2018-07

February 12, 2018 - Bow, NH

The House failed this past week to finish its scheduled business, due to the snow-day granted by the Speaker on Wednesday.  That left one day for work, which simply was not enough, so the backlog of House legislative work will be made up on this Thursday, February 15.

AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin, 2018-06

Given the length and detail of the past couple of bulletins, I will keep this one short.  It was another busy week up in Concord, with committees holding hearings on numerous bills of interest to AFT-NH.  The Education Committee held a public hearing on HB 1277, to reduce from five to three years the time in which a teacher is an ‘at will’ employee with no right to a hearing or explanation for a termination.  I testified in favor of the bill, but it is unlikely the bill will get a positive recommendation from the committee, largely because the current system (in place since 2011) gives districts two additional years in which budgetary issues can be easily addressed by terminating teachers.  Uncertainty on the job is not the best way to treat education professionals, and the current five-year ‘at will” period only makes recruitment and retention of teachers that much more difficult.  Nevertheless, I do not hold out much hope for a positive outcome this session.

AFT-NH ACTION ALERT HB 413-Restore Retirement Funding to Cities and Towns

We are asking you to reach out to your New Hampshire State Representatives in advance of February 7th when the NH House reconvenes. Please take this ACTION to contact your state representative(s) directly and ask them to support passage of HB 413. 

HB 413, defeated by the House back in early January by a narrow margin of 6 votes, will come back for another vote on February 7 or 8.  Remember this bill passed by a huge majority, 265-83, on February 15, 2017. We are asking you to help persuade your legislators that it is time to honor the State’s promised commitment, stop the downshifting of costs onto local taxpayers, and provide localities with the property tax relief needed to permit funding of existing programs and facilities, never mind improvements or even expansions! Please tell your representatives that it is time the NH House provided relief to local property taxpayers and fulfilled prior promises.